Centering Myself for Step 4 by Mark M

On June 23rd, 2017, posted in: recovery by

One of the many 4th Step suggestions that we learn and read about is to “center yourself” before you sit down and write on the 4th step. This can be done in many ways. Some people meditate, some people pray. My sponsor suggested that I write a prayer of my own, something that would center me and “push my (emotional) buttons” and that I could read before I sat down to work on my 4th Step.
At first it was hard to find the words, with “the committee” of voices that were still swirling around in my head. However, after some time and some meditation, I came up with these words. I still, at times, use it today when I feel the need to connect with myself and my Higher Power.


Allow me to see the happiness
That grows inside my soul
To celebrate my life by living
For the measure of who I am
Rests in You alone

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My First 12 Step Call by Mark M

On May 25th, 2017, posted in: recovery by

I had had about 63 days clean when my sponsor called me late one night and told me he was on his way to my house. He told me to get dressed…and to find my Basic Text. I thought 11:15 p.m. was a little too late to be doing Step work, but before I could ask my sponsor what was up, he was already beeping his car in my driveway.
He said that someone had called our local area’s hotline number and needed some help getting clean. This was my first “12-Step call” and I was so nervous. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing…and what could someone with such little clean-time have to offer this person anyway? My sponsor gave me some great advice when I asked him what I should say: “Keep your mouth shut and listen.” So I did.

We met him and the night went on. Several of us addicts sat at this little table in the back of a diner and talked to this man. We told him about our recovery and how our lives had changed for the better since we got clean. We talked about the gifts that being clean afforded us. He agreed to meet us at a meeting the next night and we all left, hugging each other.  

I never saw that man again, but many years later I found this (see below) in a box under my bed. I wrote it that night, right when I got home. That night made a big impact on my life and my recovery. I can only hope that it did, eventually, for that man.


 I met this guy at a coffee shop
His hands were shaking. Beaten down
Said he couldn’t stop
Couldn’t keep his eyes off the clock
I used to be that man, not long ago
Hidden voices whisper but never show
Death can creep so very slow

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11 years ago I went to treatment.  11 years ago I didn’t know what the hell I was getting myself into, but what I did know was that I needed help to stop using drugs.  What has transpired over the last decade has been nothing short of a miracle.
I could write a book about the ups and downs of recovery.  I am sure we all feel that way.  No one ever said this would be easy, but a lot of people said it would be simple.  I am grateful for the people who walked this road before me.  I am grateful that I “get to” go on this journey with others.  By myself, I would still be standing at the fork, wondering which way to go.

Every year on my anniversary I reflect on the past year.  Each time the memories are different. I have put myself through some serious crap over the years, but I wouldn’t change any of it today. Everyone I have met, every decision I have made, every action I took, has led me to this place.  And it’s a pretty damn good place.

I made a decision a long time ago that using was not an option for me, no matter what.  Not if my dog died, not if I got fired, not if I couldn’t get out of debt.  I simply took using out of the equation.  I forced myself to find other ways to cope.  One day at a time I learned how to live life on life’s terms, without the use of drugs.

Today is my anniversary.  I have been clean for 4,018 days.  I have a lot to be grateful for.  But if I forget where I came from, my clean date will change.  Just for today, I think I’ll stay clean.

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New Ways to Have Fun Sober by Clearwater Girl

On February 16th, 2017, posted in: recovery by

I got sober in Pinellas County. My first meeting was at the Serenity Club. My next stop was the 301 Clearwater group. I got too tied up in relationships, so I eventually migrated to Safety Harbor. I got into a great beginners group and made coffee. It is where my real recovery started. I loved that the other people were sharing the same things I was feeling, things like how to fill your time when you would usually go dancing at the bar. We went out for ice cream and coffee. We went to Village Inn for all-you-can-eat spaghetti. We had game nights playing Trivial Pursuit and charades. We all found new ways to have fun sober. It was wonderful.

Clearwater Girl

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Recently I went through an experience that brought up many emotions:  excitement, encouragement and surprise, just to name a few.  Quickly, my stinkin’ thinkin’ kicked in and I also experienced fear, resentment and grandiosity.

One of the statements that I heard from my first sponsor that has always stayed with me is, “You better get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”  I have taken that to heart throughout my recovery, shared it in meetings and also with sponsees.  I have always kept that saying in the forefront of my mind, and when faced with uncertainty (which is where I struggle the most), historically I have done a bang-up job staying sane. This time was different.
Consequently (and maybe ironically), I was also in the middle of another 6th Step.  However, writing about character defects/assets only seemed to propel me deeper into the downward spiral.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster of uncertainty (and recently I blacked out on a roller coaster), so needless to say, I was ready to get off this ride.

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